Saracens players wore impact sensors behind their ears in their recent win against London Irish as they launched a new concussion research programme.
The device, called the xPatch and produced by a US company, measures the size and angle of hits to the head.
“We don’t want to meet our players in 20 years’ time to find them suffering from dementia and reflect we suspected something was going on but didn’t really know,” said Edward Griffiths.
“We want to know – we want answers.”
The Saracens chief executive added: “We feel obliged to ask these questions, however uncomfortable they may be.”
|Concussion in the NFL|
|In 2010, the NFL acknowledged that many of its ex-players were suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) following repeated brain trauma|
|Several ex-players who suffered from CTE have committed suicide, including Junior Seau and Ray Easterling|
|In July 2014, a federal judge approved a settlement that would see thousands of former American football players compensated for concussion-related injuries|
Concussion is an issue of concern in rugby, with many retired players and medical experts warning that repeated impacts during a player’s career may cause profound health issues later in life.
Former England players Shontayne Hape and Michael Lipman are among those who have been forced to retire because of the effects of concussion, with Hape complaining of “depression, constant migraines and memory loss”.
The International Rugby Board introduced an enhanced Head Injury Assessment (HIA) protocol in June in an effort to improve player safety, and it has been in use in the Premiership this season.
Saracens players will wear the patches, made by Seattle-based X2 Biosystems, in matches and training sessions. The patches can then be removed and the data uploaded to a computer, where it will be logged.
Griffiths added: “We aspire to be a club that genuinely looks after its players, and nothing is more important than their medium and long term welfare.
“The findings will be reported in due course.”